Yeah, sometimes explaining myself as a Muslim is exhausting.

Breaking Brussels

Here we are again. Another violent act of terrorism has been splattered all over the media. Interestingly, yet again, we care because it’s happening in a Western nation (Who cares about the brown people who get killed by the terrorists, right?).

And again, I’m expected to say a thing. People aren’t expecting long and eloquent explanations anymore. Just, y’know. A little bit of condemnation to reassure everyone that I’m still on the right team – just in case I’ve changed sides since the last time something happened.

Most of you may not know how Unveiled Thought started. In 2013, a soldier named Lee Rigby was murdered in broad daylight. His murderers were then filmed talking about how they were doing this in retaliation for the murders of Muslims worldwide. This act of violence that was linked with Muslims was the first that occurred while I lived in a much less racist place. I couldn’t believe the difference in my day – I wasn’t scared of being outside. I wasn’t being yelled at or harassed.

I was so angry that the world I knew had made me feel like I needed to prove that I wasn’t a terrorist, every single time a Muslim did something violent. So I wrote an angry Facebook status that ended up on Mamamia.com (you can read that here). I swore on that day that I would never let myself feel responsible for things that I didn’t do; things I didn’t believe or support – things I could never sympathise with. And so Unveiled Thought was born to become the mouthpiece that I could use to send this message out to the world.

In creating this blog and writing for the media, I opened myself up to a lot of criticism and negative attention. This was completely okay though, because it meant that the people who were angry at Muslims could talk to me. It also meant that I could speak to people who had questions that they were usually embarrassed to ask.

This has been an incredibly rewarding journey for me. I have received thousands of messages from people who have asked so many different questions. I have had  the same conversation thousands of times – the one about the fact that Muslims aren’t a violent group of people who are secretly plotting to take over the world. I have explained the plight of most Muslims and contextualised our hopes and fears in the broader community. I have been an open source that gives and gives and gives. Most of the time that is completely okay. In fact, it brings me great joy.

But you know what?

Sometimes I get tired. Sometimes my resources get depleted. Sometimes I don’t want to have to explain this stuff again. Sometimes I don’t want to remind people that most Muslims are just as horrified as they are.

Sometimes I don’t want to talk about it. Because why should I?

Sometimes I don’t even want the sympathy. I mean, I wasn’t in Brussels. I’m not those people. My life isn’t impacted directly. Why are we talking about this? Why are you waiting for me to voice my opinion on this?

So if your Muslim friend or colleague doesn’t want to talk about an act of terrorism being linked to Muslims, or if they shrug off your questions – don’t take it to mean that this Muslim is being sympathetic to the plight of the terrorists. They’re just tired. They don’t feel like being the poster child for all Muslims. They have other things on their mind, like what to make for dinner or how to finish that assignment on time.

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